STRANGE LITTLE GIRL
A funny little girl
split from the start
Shy to her core
yet vast fierce heart
Flash forward to my late thirties (zooming through mucho experience and “opportunities for growth”) and it was “discovered” that I could proudly claim the labels dyspraxia, ADD and though I didn’t take the test, it was suggested by a friend who did assessments that a test would place me on the spectrum of autism. I also realised for the first time that I had been living with the symptoms of anxiety since those early years. I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t wake with a flush of adrenalin pumping my heart out of my chest and the sense of dread running like a cold river through my veins. I just presumed this was natures alarm clock and that we all experienced it… until the first morning that I didn’t. My muscles and joints have given me pain from those childhood days too, and again I imagined this was the way it was for everybody.
I pushed the labels and explanations away to begin with, I wanted to simply “be” who I am without considering any of it a problem. Then I started reading tentatively around the subject of Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADD, Aspergers and Autism, largely to help my daughter find answers around her own challenges. I discovered links between these “developmental disorders” and chronic pain, anxiety and their loyal companion, exhaustion. I also discovered that this new found information, far from making me feel dis-empowered, actually gave me an enormous sense of relief. I gained a level of understanding that allowed me to turn a compassionate heart towards myself. The inner dialogue that had ran for so many years of being a failure at life, of being lazy, an underachiever, and a social misfit, stopped almost overnight.
I shared the news of my new labels and the little quirks that come with them with loved ones as if it was the most exciting new discovery EVER! And many of them simply stated, “yes, we knew this about you”. Oh!
My long time friends said things like "I’ve always known you as the most illogical and quaintly weird person I’ve yet to meet, but I’ve never considered you a failure, you inspire me”; and “you're a quiet eccentric, always thinking outside of the box and bringing gold from the dark places that others are afraid to venture into”.
And so I took to considering how my story and my ways of being, are actually gifts.
A few of the ways by which I love myself
Exclusion - Being excluded by my peers at an early age was incredibly painful and confusing, I just couldn’t seem to find a way to develop friendships. In my adult years this has created within me a passion for inclusivity and a compassion for anyone who feels marginalised. This doesn’t mean I am now suddenly a social butterfly or find it easy to integrate into a group, I still have awkward moments a plenty. I will however step out of my comfort zone to aid others when appropriate.
Another happy side-effect is that I am very content in my own company. I don’t think twice about taking myself on dates to the pictures, for a meal, to a gig, a workshop, retreat etc. If I have a desire to do something I don’t wait until someone is able to do it with me, though I DO enjoy sharing these experiences with others too. I have a small number friends but those friendships run deep, all of them.
Day-Dreaming - it is NOT a negative, I have gone so far as to make it a practice. Free flowing day-dreaming powers up my imagination for use in creative endeavours; structured day-dreaming (i.e. choosing a specific theme) becomes a contemplative practice which is a spiritual art form. Regular stimulation and indulgence in this way forms the basis of the Medicine I carry as a Shamanic practitioner, it helps me to find the words, visions and imagery to support others gaining a deeper understanding - it underpins such methods as Soul Retrieval and Journeying and allows me to access other dimensions by entering a light trance with ease.
Lack of Logic - I can’t see the sequential flow of events or the easiest ways to “do” things (as my oft exasperated father would point out - “you never do things the easy way do you”). Well no I don’t… however, I find many many different ways of doing the same thing, each time learning something new. This means I develop a broader perspective and can hold space for multiple points of view. In my illogical twisty-turny journey, never moving in an A to B to C direction but more from B to A to C to Q kind of way, I experience things from all angles so that when I do finally get the gist of something, I truly “know” it.
Lazy - Occasionally I still experience overwhelm and minor symptoms of anxiety… I now know that this indicates that I need to immerse myself in a state of non-doing for a while or at least drop a few projects and simplify my life. It amuses me (and also makes perfect sense) that a learnt strategy to cope with anxiety also forms the central tenets of most spiritual paths - do less, be, simplify. One of the expressions of dyspraxia is the inability to attend to simple tasks such as household chores, or use will-power/discipline to force oneself to take action - many people with dyspraxia are labelled as lazy which can lead one to feel ashamed or guilty. Having more understanding means I can now go easy on myself and use strategies to support myself, or ask for help from those around me. I can discern the difference between the ‘overwhelm indicator’ prompting me to take time out, and the paralysis of dyspraxia which just needs a little bit of support to allow the flow to continue. Understanding this about me enables me to understand the needs of others and how unique we and our needs are.
ADD style Hyper-focus - I get a lot done in a short space of time then go back to non-doing or rest. Now that I know how my productivity functions, wham-bam-whizz-woo-done, I can surrender when the motivation and drive bottoms out and not a thing is happening. I trust so deeply in this flow even though it runs counter to any 9am-5pm seven days a week social norm (or for some 12hr work days throughout most of the week), that I can now see the insanity of such social norms and the amount of stress it causes people. My work is predominantly about helping people find their own unique rhythm by calling them home to the centre of their Self so they can overcome the stresses, strains and trauma that living an unnatural and burdened life creates.